Writing for a Change: From Blank Page to First Draft

The journey of a write-up for me begins long before a pen is lifted or a laptop opened. It starts with an open mind and a growing appetite for learning. The image of a sponge comes to mind. It takes in water and then when squeezed, it brings it back out. Another image would be a tank. Not an armor tank, a water tank. It needs to be filled before it can be of use.

Now, the question is this: how can you be filled?

  • Books

“I, Daniel, understood by books…” Daniel 9:2

Books are a major source of knowledge and inspiration. There’s a book on just about any topic. A few years ago, my mum took my brother and me to a bookshop and we saw a book titled “How to boil an egg”. It just goes to show the extent to which books are available. Paperbacks, e-books, audiobooks. Make sure that you read quality books. It is said that He who doesn’t read lives only one life, but he who reads multiple lives.

Reading should not just be for knowledge acquisition; it should be for application. However, as you read good books, you get ideas on how to frame your words and communicate your message in the best possible way. Reading changes the lens through which you view life events.

  • Events and circumstances

Go to the ant…Consider her ways. Proverbs 6:6

Life happens. Every moment. Each day, there are so many opportunities for us to learn from. The fight at the bus park. The smile from that innocent kid at the mall. A woman crying in front of a primary school building. The national election. Liverpool’s Champions League victory. The increase in Nigerians moving to Canada and other countries. Artificial Intelligence. Internet of things. The trade war between the US and China. Global warming. Jay-Z becoming the first billionaire hip-hop artiste. Advancement in nanotechnology. The list goes on. Every day, things happen. As writers, it is important that we are well-informed.

  • The Holy Spirit

We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truth with spirit-taught words. 1 Corinthians 2:13

The Holy Spirit is the most important source of inspiration for us as Christian writers. “And the Holy Spirit shall overshadow you and what will be born of you will be…” These words were said to Mary by the angel Gabriel and they stand true for us. Periods spent in solitude, in Scriptures and in fellowship with believers are ample opportunities for God, through His Spirit, to fill and empower us for this divine assignment that we have been called to.

After drawing from various sources of inspiration, what is the next step? WRITE! It is good to think about writing, talk about writing and imagine how it would feel to write. However, at a point in time, you will have to put pen to paper and write. Personally, I write a lot in my mind. Usually, I piece an article together mentally for some time before I write. I have noticed that it is one thing to have a mental picture of what to write and another to execute it.

When you are putting pen to paper and attempting to bring the mental image you have to life, you will face some questions. How best do I pass this message across? Would it be better as a story or a poem? Which illustrations can I include to improve reader participation and comprehension? These questions are answered when you write.

Writing the first draft might take you a couple of hours, a month or even longer, depending on the material under consideration. However, you would never finish what you do not start.

After writing, what do you do with your first draft? You keep it. J Remember what Bukola wrote about writing without editing?  Check it here: REMOVING THE DROSS BY BUKOLA FALOLA.

There is a thrill that comes with the completion of a write-up that makes one want to share it with the world immediately, but patience is important. The first draft is rarely the finished product.

Put the work away for a while. A few hours, a few days, maybe even a few months. Give the work to an editor to read. Just leave it for a while. You might feel like you have come to the end of the writing process but you are only just at the beginning.

Author: Iremide Akinsola

I am a Christian. I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music and watching football.

6 thoughts on “Writing for a Change: From Blank Page to First Draft”

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